Research: DUARTE and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 152


DUARTE and co-authors, Research Center for Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture, State University of Campinas, P.O. Box 6171, CEP 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil,, have measured the antibacterial activity of Brazilian medicinal plants.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the antibiotic activity of traditional medicinal plants from Brazil.


Essential oils obtained from leaves of 29 medicinal plants commonly used in Brazil were screened against 13 different Escherichia coli serotypes. The oils were obtained by water-distillation using a Clevenger-type system and their minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) were determined by microdilution method.


Essential oil from Cymbopogon martinii exhibited a broad inhibition spectrum, presenting strong activity (MIC between 100 and 500 microg/mL) against 10 out of 13 E. coli serotypes. C. winterianus inhibited strongly five E. coli serotypes. Aloysia triphylla also shows good potential to kill E. coli with moderate to strong inhibition. Other essential oils showed antimicrobial properties, however with a more restricted action against the serotypes studied. Chemical analysis of Cymbopogon martinii essential oil showed the presence of compounds with known antimicrobial activity, including geraniol, geranyl acetate and trans-cariophyllene, which tested separately, indicated geraniol as antimicrobial active compound.


The significant antibacterial activity of Cymbopogon martinii oil suggests that it could serve as a source for compounds with therapeutic potential.


Duarte MC, Leme EE, Delarmelina C, Soares AA, Figueira GM, Sartoratto A. Activity of essential oils from Brazilian medicinal plants on Escherichia coli. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 111 (2): 197-201, May 4, 2007.

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